The current conflicts in Sudan consist of different conflict-types, here presented in a theoretical framework of conflict complementarities. The framework consist of four parallel and interlinked conflicts types: communal conflicts, local elite conflicts, center-periphery conflicts, and cross-border conflicts. The structure of conflict complementarities is used to describe the continuing crisis in Darfur, and the emerging crisis in South Kordofan.
The complexities of Sudan’s conflict have often been overlooked by outsiders leading to incorrect assessments of the root causes, as well as dynamics of these conflicts. Therefore, this paper makes a call for careful conflict analysis in order to understand the conflicts in Sudan. Although taken place in different areas the root causes of Sudan’s conflicts are similar. Poverty and severe marginalization of the peripheries, in combination with bad governance at the center, are the main reasons for conflicts all over the country. Also other areas of Sudan, such as Eastern Sudan and the far North, suffer from these problems. Thus, there is a risk that Sudan’s crisis will spread to new areas. For conflicts in Sudan to decline the root causes of the problems need to be tackled.
Decentralization that would decrease the huge differences between the center and the marginalized peripheries would be a step in the right direction. Also, the government’s propensity for using militias and divide-and-rule strategies has to stop for a brighter future for Sudan. Finally, a stronger commitment from, and coordination by, the international community is needed to deal with the continuing crisis in Sudan.